Serious Framerate Drops
Happens when the the ball is in play on the side of the field nearest the camera in sideview.
Backfield Defending AI
Fullback doesn't pursue a kicked ball until it's too late, and is often absent.
They should start pursuit the moment the ball is kicked.
The "Fullback Inline" setting is set as default for some teams, which causes the fullback to missing in action. Add a slider to Team Tactics?.
Opponent AI Pick & Go
Too much pick & go regardless of slider settings. Not sure why.
Opponent AI Ruck Commitment
The AI sending in 5 players to the ruck kills attacking/defending options.
Limit AI ruck commitment to 3 players.
Forwards Depth on Offense
Forwards are too close to the line and get smashed after receiving ball with no momentum.
Include forwards in the d-pad line depth setting to push them farther back.
Bonus: Better Surfacing of Tactical Options
Need pre-match team tactical options presented visually.
I've had a chance to play the game for a couple days now, testing out as much Single Match gameplay as possible to get a feel for the mechanics. I only played a little of RC3, so this series is still a bit new for me, but so far I'm having a lot of fun with it--much much more than I did with Rugby 20. Overall, I'm really positive on this game right now, knowing that the Career mode component (the biggest draw for an old school sports game without a live service model) is still in the works.
Changing engines is tough, but I'm glad you guys went with UE. There's so much potential in UE5, I'm excited to see what you guys can do on the next-gen consoles.
Anywho, it's helpful to group and prioritize the major issues, so that's what I'll be doing here. These are my top five gameplay issues that I think would make the most noticeable difference on the pitch. Much respect on the addition of the instant replay function! That's been really helpful in breaking gameplay down.
1. Framerate Drops
This seems to be a common occurrence. I'm playing on a standard PS4 bought in 2016, and during 15s matches, my framerate drops horribly. I play with the side camera, and I've deduced the frame rate drop to occur when the ball is nearer the camera. I get 30fps when play happens on the top part of the field, but when the ball gets shifted down on the field towards the camera, that's exactly when the drop happens. I've noticed a framerate drop during the scrum put in, when the camera is hovering over the back of the 9, as well.
I don't get this framerate drop in 7s, though.
2. Backfield Defending AI
This has been brought up a lot, as well. It seems like the issue stems from two things:
the fullback not reacting to the ball in the air until it's near or past them. At first I thought maybe this was due to a low quality fullback, but I created a 93-rated Stuart Hogg, gave him 99 mental agility, and played against Scotland on Pro difficulty, and it still happened.
The fullback should be breaking on his angle right after the ball is kicked. Then the quality of that angle and the reaction speed would be affected by stats and difficulty level.
the "fullback inline" option being the default for some teams (I'm assuming it's some teams, and not all). I didn't find this option in the team tactics, so you really don't know what your fullback is going to do until you're in the game and have to check the setting in each zone.
Also, modern backfields typically use a pendulum system where two backs cover the backfield at all times, operating in a pendulum motion where the 11, 15, and 14 trade off depending on where the ball is. I would love to have this as an option!
3. Opponent AI Pick & Go
Watching an AI vs AI match should highlight this problem. I edited Ireland's tactics to only pick & go in the attack zone (and even then, I set the slider super low), mirror matched them in an AI on Pro difficulty and still saw rampant pick & go everywhere. A lot of it was the 9 pick & go-ing and then offloading in contact, often halfway across the field to a winger, or sometimes, more realistically, to the forward near him. One time, in the attack zone, the 2 decided to pick & go (which is a totally tactical and a smart decision) but then offloaded in contact to a winger once again halfway across the field.
If there's no defense on the short side of the ruck, I can see the 9 or whoever receives the ball taking off. But I have my gate post defenders in place around the ruck, and the AI continually runs into them from the pick & go. This may be a result of the difficulty level (I've been playing on easy/normal mostly), but it doesn't feel like rugby.
In general, I'm seeing okay phase play from the AI. There are times when I'm like "damn, that was a nice play", and others that are just mind boggling. The various teams do all play different, though, and I like that.
4. Opponent AI Ruck Commitment
I've made a couple of comments about this already in response to other posts. The AI will commit 5 players to a ruck very frequently even if the ruck commitment sliders are turned all the way down. This turns the ruck into a scrum, kills quick ball, limits attacking and defending options, and all around kills the game.
I just watched Chiefs vs Crusaders and saw only two instances of rucks where 4 players committed to the ruck. In the modern game you see a maximum of 3 players in clear-outs. The ruck mechanics in general are actually pretty awesome. I love being to decide who I want to commit, the risk vs reward of trying to jackal or hold on to the ball, if I want my players to hop out and get back in line, how the meter has an element of momentum built into it, etc. It's a good balance in favoring the attackers while also providing opportunity for the defense to get a turnover. It's great until the AI throws their entire pack into it.
I'd like to see either a three player maximum on ruck commitments, or the logic worked out quicker where the ruck is decided before 5 players can pile on. The attempted jackal mechanic would then become the defense's primary way of slowing down the ball.
5. Forwards Depth on Offense
I'm actually liking how the forwards behave for the most part (I'd like to see them keep their diamond shape in 3-2-3 better as passing options until contact). The problem is that they line up flat, receive the ball at a stand-still, and get smashed because of it.
I've notice the d-pad depth options don't apply to forwards. The obvious fix here is to make it so that they do. If I select "Deep", both my backs and forwards position themselves deeper than normal, etc. This would allow my forwards time to build momentum and hopefully run onto the ball.
Bonus: Better Surfacing of Tactical Options
A lot of my initial difficulties had to do with player position and tendencies. I knew the Team Tactics sliders existed, and I knew the d-pad controls allowed you make certain tactical changes in-game, but it took me forever to figure out why my team was behaving like they did, why my team was so compressed that my winger was in mid-field, why my fullback wasn't in the backfield, how the forward pods functioned, etc.
This game gives us such an awesome amount of control, but doesn't provide intuitive instruction. Team tactics changes need to be a part of the pre-match team selection. We need visual representations of the positioning options and zone instructions, so that it's easily digestible, and we feel in control on the field. FIFA has been doing this pretty well.
Okay that's all....for now. 😈